FBI ‘Going Dark’ with New Advanced Surveillance Program
11 May 09 | ISN
The proposed 2010 Justice Department budget published last week reveals the development of a new FBI advanced electronic surveillance program dubbed “Going Dark.” The program is being budgeted $233.9 million next year.
According to the published budget summary [.pdf], the program “supports the FBI’s electronic surveillance (ELSUR), intelligence collection and evidence gathering capabilities, as well as those of the greater Intelligence Community.”
An FBI spokesman told ABC News, which first reported the information, that the program’s name, Going Dark, “does not refer to a specific capability, but is a program name for the part of the FBI, Operational Technology Division’s (OTD) lawful interception program which is shared with other law enforcement agencies.” He added that “The term applies to the research and development of new tools, technical support and training initiatives.”
The program is designed to help the agency address challenges with conducting surveillance over newish technologies, such as VoIP. The program is also doing research on automated link analysis to find connections between subjects of surveillance “and other investigative suspects.”
The budget report also discusses a Biometric Technology Center that is being developed jointly by the FBI, Defense Department and Justice Department in conjunction with the University of West Virginia for research and development of biometric technologies. The center is located at the Criminal Justice Information Services (CJIS) Division complex in Clarksburg, West Virginia.
The biometric project will also encompass “a vast database of personal data including fingerprints, iris scans and DNA which the FBI calls the Next Generation Identification (NGI),” according to ABC, which could be online next year. Lockheed Martin has been awarded the contract to update and maintain the database at an estimated cost of up to $1 billion a year.